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Exams and assessment

Exceptional circumstances

What are exceptional circumstances?

Exceptional circumstances are unforeseen personal, medical or family problems that are outside of your control and affect your performance in assessments. The current COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns would be seen to be exceptional circumstances.

In order to support you in your studies, the University operates an exceptional circumstances claim process, where you can request extra time for your assessment in order to mitigate against any adverse circumstances you may be experiencing.

How can I claim?

Self-certification for one week

You choose to self-certify for an extension of up to seven days. This can apply to more than one assignment if the deadlines fall within the same week. This route may normally only be used on one occasion of illness in an academic year.

Apply for self-cetification: Exceptional Circumstances Self-Certification Form (DOC, 54.9 kB)

For extensions of more than one week

If you need more than seven days, or have already self-certified on one occasion in this academic year, you can apply through the exceptional circumstances process.

For 2020-21, there is no need to apply with evidence – if you are applying on the grounds of ill-health (whether mental or physical health, relating to COVID-19 or not), in order to avoid the additional burden on the NHS, there is no need to ask your GP or other NHS professional for evidence to support your claim.

If you do have evidence to support your claim, you should submit this as it will help our decision making, but it is not mandatory.

On what grounds can I claim?

Grounds should be unforeseen and have impacted on your ability to complete your assignments. If the grounds for your claim are not sufficient or unforeseen, your claim will be declined.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting you in a number of ways, and the national lockdown may have changed the way you planned to study. Examples of this might be the effect on your physical or mental ill-health and wellbeing, anxiety, or caring responsibilities. This is not an exhaustive list, but the University will accept a claim due to the pandemic without the need for independent evidence. Make sure you give as much detail as possible, so we can assess your claim fully when you submit.

Ensure you read the full policy in the Code of Practice for Assessment and Academic-related Matters before you apply: Section 16: Exceptional Circumstances Policy 2020-21 (PDF 0.5 MB)

How do I complete the form?

In consideration of your claim, we need to understand the impact on your studies of the circumstances on which you are basing your claim. For example, if you are experiencing mental health difficulties, such as anxiety, due to the pandemic, please detail the impact of this on your studies.

Please ensure you give us the details of your circumstances and the impact on your ability to complete assessments – we use this information to approve or decline your claim. If you do not give enough information on the impact on you and your ability to complete assignments, you may be asked to supply more information and this will delay your claim. You claim may also be declined on this basis.

If you do have evidence to support your claim, you should submit this as it will help our decision making, but it is not mandatory.

Download the Exceptional Circumstances claim form: Exceptional Circumstances Claim Form (DOC, 60.3 kB)

You should submit your completed form to your School Administrative Unit when it is complete.

When will I hear if my claim has been approved?

Please be aware that the volume of claims being received is larger than usual, and so, whilst we will review your claim as soon as possible, there may be a delay in receiving the outcome, and this may be after your assessment deadline.

Please give as much time as possible before the assignment deadline to apply – if you apply on the day of, or a day or two before, your deadline, you may not hear in time to know whether your extension has been approved. You should continue to work on your assignment whilst you await the outcome of your claim, as we cannot guarantee that it will be approved.

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have received a positive test result, you must notify the University through the absence form. You must also ensure that you are self-isolating.

If you are unwell, and are unable to attend online teaching, you must notify the University through the absence form. If you need extensions on your assessments due to being unwell from symptoms of COVID-19, then please submit an exceptional circumstances form. There is no need to obtain medical evidence, but if you have notification of a positive test result, please include that when you submit your form.

What if I need longer to complete my programme?

You can apply for an extension to your period of study if you have completed all teaching for your final year of studies but have been unable to complete the programme's final assessments in the normal timescale due to exceptional circumstances. Make sure you give the detail on this form as to how the exceptional circumstances have impacted on your ability to study.

You can apply for a programme extension if you wish to request an extension of more than 6 weeks to your expected programme end date.

Applying for a programme extension: the policy and claim form

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